DFG priority programme 1488: PlanetMag
The results of new space missions to Mars and Venus strongly suggest that the planets’ magnetic fields crucially prevent the erosion of the atmospheres by the solar wind. Without the magnetosphere, life on Earth in its present form for instance would be impossible. So far, there are very few insights into the fundamental interaction between solar wind and planetary magnetic fields. Space missions, meanwhile, have shown that the planetary and lunar magnetic fields show surprising differences on large scales. These individual magnetic signatures contain valuable information about the present and the past inner structures and dynamics of celestial bodies. So far, there is very limited data available about the reasons of these characteristic differences. The objective of PlanetMag (“Planetary Magnetism”) is to investigate and understand the diversity of the planetary and lunar magnetism in our solar system. An emphasis is placed on the investigation the interaction with the solar wind. The timeline of the programme coincides with several space missions that will measure investigate the magnetic fields and other key parameters. These new data provide a unique opportunity to promote improve our knowledge significantly. Therefore, a synergetic, interdisciplinary approach is necessary to combine new methods of data collection and analysis, computer simulations of the planetary interior and dynamos, models of the solar wind interaction, measurements of old Earth rocks and meteorites, and, finally, laboratory experiments.